“It is really a university, but also a movement,” Wagner stated.
Olivet University, the institution that recently purchased the Bethany University campus from the Assemblies of God California and Nevada District, will bring a decidedly international flavor to town this fall.
“There’s a good group coming in from various countries this semester,” Wagner said.
The campus will house 300 to 400 residential students in the dorms on the north Scotts Valley campus vacated by Bethany in June. Wagner said the largest block of students will be Chinese, but many nations will be represented.
The college will use existing classrooms and living facilities and plans to complete the partially built dining hall, which sits as a steel skeleton in the middle of campus. The college also plans to build a field on an open plot on the campus, as it has a competitive soccer team.
The first day of the fall quarter is scheduled for Sept. 12, with classes to begin Sept. 15. Many of the professors will commute from around the Bay Area, as the young school’s former building was in San Francisco.
What is Olivet? The college was founded close to seven years ago by church leaders and interested parties. Its mission is to “win the world” for Christ, Wagner said.
The path the school has taken is to create an international college with satellite campuses all over the globe.
“You’ll see a lot of our staff and people are young,” Wagner said. “The majority are under 30. They are almost all international.”
The university offers certificates in English as a second language and other languages; undergraduate degrees in theology, music, journalism, graphic design, info technology and business; and master’s degrees in divinity, theology, music, journalism, graphic arts, info technology and translation/interpretation, as well as an MBA.
Starting this fall, the school is launching doctoral programs that will soon be accredited, Wagner said.
Distance learning using communication technology is a large part of what the school does.
The school is affiliated with the Evangelical Assembly of Presbyterian Churches and has close ties to the World Evangelical Alliance, an organization that supports churches in 128 nations.
The school has a broad base of support and satellite campuses across the world.
Former Olivet students founded the top Christian website in the world, www.christianpost.com. Other alumni launched The International Business News, www.ibtimes.com, as a venture related to the college.
Today, the university is supported by more than 300 businesses started by former students, including the two previously mentioned, in places all around the world.
And students attend branches of the school in many countries, including China, Japan, Korea, Belgium, Germany, Australia, England, Nairobi and 10 extensions in the United States including a strong presence in New York near ground zero, Wagner said.
However, until last month, the university’s headquarters were based in San Francisco, in office buildings near the Moscone Center.
“We’ve been looking for a campus for a long time,” said Wagner.
Wagner declined to state the purchase price of the campus, but said Olivet “basically paid off their debt.”
He said working with the Assemblies of God has been a good experience.
“There is a very good, close relationship between The Assemblies and us because we have the same purpose,” Wagner said.
The school has also reached out to Mount Hermon Christian Conference Center and has started to build a relationship. Olivet plans to retain its San Francisco campus as an extension, but move its base of operations to Scotts Valley.